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Yamaha Clavinova Clp-311 Review: Everything You Need To Know

The Yamaha Clavinova CLP-311 is one of the top models in Yamaha’s renowned Clavinova digital piano line.

With its authentic grand piano sound, weighted keys, and useful features, it appeals to piano players of all levels.

If you’re short on time, here’s the key takeaway: The Yamaha Clavinova Clp-311 is a good all-around digital piano that is suitable for a variety of musical styles.

It has a realistic sound and feel, and it is packed with features. However, it is important to note that the CLP-311 is an older model, and there are newer digital pianos on the market with more advanced features and better sound quality.

If you’re considering the CLP-311 for your home, studio, or stage, this comprehensive guide will tell you everything you need to know.

CLP-311 Overview and Specs

Release year and price range

The Yamaha Clavinova CLP-311 is a digital piano that was released in 1996. It is a well-built instrument with a realistic sound and feel.

It had an MSRP of $2,599, putting it in the mid-range price point for Yamaha Clavinova digital pianos. Nowadays, you can find used CLP-311 models for around $600-1,000 on sites like eBay and Reverb.

Cabinet and design styles

The CLP-311 has a furniture-style cabinet made of wood in a classic black polished finish. It’s 54.7″ wide, 18.9″ deep, and 39.8″ tall. The music rest and key cover can fold down when not in use.

There are two options for the cabinet style – a contemporary straight cabinet or a more traditional curved “pro” cabinet. So the look can match different home decor tastes.

Cabinet and design styles

Keyboard and key action

The CLP-311 has 88 weighted keys with Yamaha’s Graded Hammer Effect (GHE) key action. This gives a heavier touch in the low end and a lighter touch in the high end, just like an acoustic piano.

The keys are also touch-sensitive, meaning the sound responds to your playing dynamics from pianissimo to fortissimo. Overall, it provides a very realistic and responsive piano-playing experience.

Polyphony, voices, tones

The maximum polyphony of the CLP-311 is 128 notes. It has ten sounds/voices, such as Grand Piano, E.Piano, and Pipe Organ.

There are different effects like reverb, chorus, and DSP that can further shape the piano and electric piano tones. In total, there are over 500 instrument tones, so you get plenty of options for creativity.

Speakers and audio system

The CLP-311 has a 40W, 4-speaker sound system powered by Yamaha’s Advanced Wave Memory stereo sampling technology.

Two speakers are facing upward below the keyboard, and two are facing forward inside the cabinet.

Combined with the wooden soundboard, the CLP-311 produces a rich and vibrant piano sound. The volume fills the living room nicely for recreational playing.

Connectivity and inputs/outputs

For connectivity, the CLP-311 has MIDI in/out jacks to connect to computers, sequencers, etc.

It also has two headphone jacks on the front panel for quiet practice and line output jacks to connect to an external speaker system or mixer.

Overall, it provides decent connectivity options for home use.

CLP-311 Piano Sound and Playing Feel

When it comes to piano sound and playing feel, the Yamaha Clavinova CLP-311 truly stands out. It is equipped with the finest grand piano samples, including the renowned Yamaha CFX and Bösendorfer Imperial grand pianos.

These samples were meticulously recorded and faithfully reproduced, capturing every nuance and detail of these exquisite instruments.

With the CLP-311, you can experience the richness and expressiveness of these grand pianos right in your own home.

Yamaha CFX and Bösendorfer Imperial grand piano samples

The Yamaha CFX and Bösendorfer Imperial grand piano samples used in the CLP-311 are world-class.

The CFX is Yamaha’s flagship concert grand piano, renowned for its rich tone and powerful projection. On the other hand, the Bösendorfer Imperial is known for its warm and singing quality.

With these two exceptional piano samples, the CLP-311 offers a wide range of expressive possibilities, allowing you to bring your music to life.

Yamaha CFX

Damper resonance and string resonance modeling

In addition to the high-quality piano samples, the CLP-311 also features advanced damper resonance and string resonance modeling.

This technology accurately recreates the complex interactions between the strings and the soundboard, resulting in a more realistic and immersive playing experience.

The subtle vibrations and resonances that occur when the pedals are used or when multiple strings are played simultaneously are faithfully reproduced, adding depth and authenticity to your performance.

Graded hammer action with synthetic ivory keytops

The CLP-311 is equipped with a graded hammer action keyboard, which emulates the feel of an acoustic piano.

The keys have a heavier touch in the lower register and become lighter as you move up the keyboard, just like a real piano.

Additionally, the synthetic ivory keytops provide a comfortable and natural feel, allowing for better control and precision while playing.

Whether you’re playing delicate passages or powerful chords, the CLP-311’s keyboard will respond to your touch with accuracy and sensitivity.

Counterweights and let-off simulation

To further enhance the playing feel, the CLP-311 features counterweights and let-off simulation.

The counterweights are strategically placed in the keys to mimic the weight distribution of an acoustic piano, giving you a more authentic playing experience.

The let-off simulation recreates the subtle “notch” sensation felt when the keys are released, adding to the realism of the instrument.

These features make the CLP-311 a joy to play, allowing pianists of all levels to express themselves with confidence and control.

Features for Practice, Performance, and More

The Yamaha Clavinova CLP-311 is a versatile digital piano that offers a wide range of features to enhance your playing experience.

Whether you are a beginner or an experienced pianist, this instrument has something to offer for everyone.

USB audio recorder and playback

One of the standout features of the Yamaha Clavinova CLP-311 is its USB audio recorder and playback functionality.

This feature allows you to record your performances directly onto a USB flash drive, so you can listen back to your playing and analyze your technique.

Additionally, you can also play back MIDI files or audio files that you have saved on your USB drive, expanding your repertoire and allowing you to practice with accompaniment.

The lesson, duet, and ensemble song features

The Yamaha Clavinova CLP-311 comes with a variety of built-in lesson features that can help you improve your playing skills.

These features include a metronome, a built-in library of songs for practice, and a recording function that allows you to listen to your performance and make adjustments.

Additionally, the instrument also offers duet and ensemble modes, which allow you to play alongside virtual musicians or split the keyboard into two parts for duet playing.

Voices, reverb, and effects options

The Yamaha Clavinova CLP-311 offers a wide range of voices, reverb options, and effects to customize your sound.

With over 50 different voices to choose from, including grand pianos, electric pianos, strings, and more, you can find the perfect sound for any musical genre.

Additionally, the instrument also allows you to adjust the reverb level and add effects such as chorus and delay, giving you the ability to create unique and immersive sounds.

Apps and smart device integration

The Yamaha Clavinova CLP-311 is compatible with various apps and can be integrated with your smart devices.

By connecting your piano to a compatible app, you can access a wealth of additional features and resources.

These apps can provide you with access to sheet music, and interactive lessons, and even allow you to control your piano settings from your smartphone or tablet. This integration makes practicing and learning more convenient and enjoyable.

Apps and smart device

Comparisons With Other Yamaha Digital Pianos

vs. CLP-705 (higher model)

When comparing the Yamaha Clavinova CLP-311 with the higher model CLP-705, several key differences stand out.

The CLP-705 offers a wider range of features and advanced technology that enhances the overall playing experience.

It boasts a more sophisticated sound system, with a greater number of speakers and improved amplification, resulting in a richer, more immersive sound.

Additionally, the higher model includes a larger selection of high-quality instrument voices and a wider range of touch sensitivity options, allowing for a more expressive performance.

While the CLP-311 is still a remarkable digital piano, those seeking a more advanced instrument may find the CLP-705 to be a better fit for their needs.

vs. CLP-695 (prior model)

The Yamaha Clavinova CLP-311 and its predecessor, the CLP-695, share many similarities in terms of features and performance.

Both models offer a high-quality keyboard with weighted keys that provide a realistic playing experience. They also include a wide range of instrument voices, allowing musicians to explore various sounds and genres.

However, the CLP-311 does come with some notable improvements over the CLP-695. It features an upgraded sound engine that delivers enhanced tonal clarity and depth, making each note resonate with exceptional precision.

Additionally, the CLP-311 boasts a sleeker and more modern design, making it an aesthetically appealing choice for any space.

Overall, while the CLP-695 still holds its own as a reliable digital piano, the CLP-311 offers a more refined and advanced playing experience.

vs. CLP-625 (lower model)

When comparing the Yamaha Clavinova CLP-311 with the lower model CLP-625, there are a few key differences to consider.

While both models offer a high-quality playing experience, the CLP-311 comes with several additional features that make it a step above the CLP-625.

One notable difference is the inclusion of Virtual Resonance Modeling (VRM) technology in the CLP-311, which replicates the complex interactions between the strings, soundboard, and cabinet of an acoustic piano.

This technology adds depth and realism to the sound of the instrument, making it feel more like playing on a traditional piano.

Additionally, the CLP-311 offers a wider range of touch sensitivity options, allowing for a more nuanced and expressive performance.

While the CLP-625 is still a fantastic digital piano, the CLP-311 provides an enhanced playing experience for those seeking a more advanced instrument.

Reviews and Expert Opinions

Praise for realistic piano sound

When it comes to the Yamaha Clavinova CLP-311, one aspect that receives consistent praise from reviewers and experts is its realistic piano sound.

The CLP-311 is equipped with advanced sampling technology that accurately captures the nuances and dynamics of a grand piano.

The high-quality sound is incredibly authentic, making it a favorite among pianists who are looking for an instrument that can replicate the sound of a traditional acoustic piano.

In fact, many users have expressed their delight at how closely the CLP-311’s sound resembles that of a real grand piano.

Critiques of key action and features

While the Yamaha Clavinova CLP-311 excels in terms of sound, there have been some critiques regarding its key action and features.

Some users have found the key action to be slightly heavier than what they prefer, which can make it challenging to control the dynamics of their playing.

Additionally, there have been comments about the limited number of features compared to other models in the Clavinova series.

However, it’s important to note that these critiques are subjective and may vary depending on individual preferences and playing styles.

Is it suitable for beginners vs. advanced players?

The suitability of the Yamaha Clavinova CLP-311 for beginners versus advanced players is a commonly debated topic.

While some argue that the CLP-311 is an excellent choice for beginners due to its realistic piano sound and relatively affordable price, others believe that its heavier key action may pose a challenge for beginners who are still developing their finger strength and technique.

On the other hand, advanced players who are accustomed to playing on grand pianos may find the CLP-311 to be a suitable option for practice or performance purposes.

Its realistic sound and touch sensitivity allow for expressive playing and can help advanced players maintain their skills when access to a grand piano is limited.

Ultimately, the suitability of the CLP-311 for beginners versus advanced players depends on individual preferences, skill levels, and goals. It is recommended to try out the instrument and determine if it meets your specific needs before making a purchase.

Who Should Buy the Yamaha CLP-311?

If you are in the market for a high-quality digital piano, the Yamaha Clavinova CLP-311 is definitely worth considering. With its impressive sound quality, realistic key action, and a range of features, this instrument is suitable for a wide range of musicians.

Here are a few specific groups of people who would benefit from purchasing the Yamaha CLP-311:

Beginners looking for an upgrade

If you are a beginner pianist who has been practicing on a basic keyboard or a low-end digital piano, the Yamaha CLP-311 can be a fantastic upgrade.

Its Graded Hammer 3 (GH3) keyboard technology mimics the feel of an acoustic piano, making it easier for beginners to develop proper finger technique and control.

Additionally, the CLP-311 offers a wide variety of voices and built-in lesson features that can help beginners grow and improve their skills.

Intermediate players needing more authenticity

For intermediate players who are looking for a more authentic playing experience, the Yamaha CLP-311 is a great choice.

Its advanced sound engine reproduces the rich, expressive tones of a concert grand piano, allowing you to fully immerse yourself in your music. The realistic key action also provides a more satisfying playing experience, allowing for greater nuance and control.

Whether you’re practicing classical pieces or experimenting with different genres, the CLP-311 will deliver the authenticity you’re looking for.

Intermediate players

Gigging musicians wanting portability

If you’re a gigging musician who needs a portable instrument that doesn’t compromise on sound quality, the Yamaha CLP-311 is an excellent option.

While it may not be as lightweight as a stage piano, it is considerably more portable than an acoustic piano.

Its compact design and built-in speakers make it easy to transport and set up for performances. With the CLP-311, you can enjoy the convenience of a digital piano without sacrificing the sound and feel of a traditional acoustic instrument.

Ultimately, the Yamaha CLP-311 is a versatile digital piano that appeals to a wide range of musicians.

Whether you’re a beginner, an intermediate player, or a gigging musician, this instrument offers the quality and features you need to enhance your musical journey. So why wait?

Take your musical skills to the next level with the Yamaha CLP-311!


With its top-notch Yamaha CFX piano sound, Graded Hammer 3X action, and useful features, the Yamaha Clavinova CLP-311 digital piano delivers outstanding quality and value.

Its authentic acoustic piano experience makes it a strong choice for pianists, from hobbyists to working musicians.

For intermediate to advanced players seeking a realistic piano feel and sound for home, studio, or stage, the CLP-311 is hard to beat.

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